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January 2012

Ditching disposables for beautiful reusables

We've ditched many of the disposable items from our household and replaced them with their reuseable alternative. Plastic wrap, paper towel and serviettes, disposable nappies, baby wipes, pads, and tampons. They all cost money and end up as rubbish. Their reuseable alternatives save you money, are less toxic and kinder on the environment and also feel and look a whole lot nicer. I even consider many of our reusables beautiful.

vintage hankie

Vintage hankies.

pre-loved cloth napkin

Pre-loved cloth napkins.

Modern cloth nappy 1

Cloth nappies (and a much littler Little Eco).

Face washer

Face washers (and in case your wondering why i'm pouring honey on a face washer, I wash my face with honey).

6a00e55397a5c28834015433459ed4970c

Containers for yoghurt and other lunch treats.

4MyEarth snack and sandwich pocket

Snack pockets and sandwich wraps.

Don’t you think they’re all a whole lot nicer than their disposable alternative?

Giveaway from 4MyEarth

4MyEarth sandwich wrap and snack wrap

Would you like some gorgeous re-usable sandwich wraps just like mine? Rebecca from 4MyEarth has kindly offered to giveaway a set of 4MyEarth sandwich wraps & pockets to one lucky Little Eco Footprints reader.

4MyEarth Snack pocket

To enter head on over to 4MyEarth and check out their range of sandwich wraps & pockets and pop back here and leave a comment sharing which of their prints is your favourite (mines the combi van with birds coming in a close second).

A set of 4MyEarth wraps and pockets

Entries close midnight (Australian EDST) Monday 16th January 2012. The winner will be chosen by Random Number Generator and be announced here in this post on the Tuesday morning. I'll contact the winner directly by email.

Entries have closed. The winner was comment number 82 - Nat. Congratulations Nat, I have just sent you an email.

Thank you all for taking the time to enter.

I was given a complimentary set of sandwich wraps and pockets to photograph because they look a little fresher than the ones we've happily been using for two years.

This post is one of a series that will help you skip the supermarket. Perhaps you’ll consider joining the Little Eco Footprints household in skipping supermarkets, shopping malls and super chains? The environment, your local economy, and Australian farmers will be grateful.


Skipping supermarkets, shopping malls and super chains

Skipping supermarkets 660-2

The Little Eco Footprints household will be avoiding supermarkets, shopping malls and super chains for the whole of 2012.

Our dependency upon supermarkets has decreased over the past few years. It’s not something we intentionally set out to do. Rather, in our efforts to eat locally and sustainably, and to do so without spending a fortune, we found ourselves visiting the supermarket less often.

Instead, we buy our food through a Community Supported Agriculture farm, a local greengrocer, the farmer’s markets, local organic food stores, a local mum-run bulk-buying club, a wholesale market, and also in the past through a local food-co-op.

We discovered skipping the supermarket wasn’t a hassle and improved our life in many ways. The most unexpected outcome was that shopping became an enjoyable way to connect with our community. We stop and chat to friends while at the farmer’s markets and Little Eco is often treated to a face paint or pony ride. The quarterly bulk-buying packing night provides a chance to catch up with other like-minded mums. Staff at the greengrocers and organic stores are friendly and almost always familiar. And we are lucky enough to visit the farm where our vegies are grown. Racing into a busy supermarket to self-scan over-packaged imported food doesn’t even come close to comparing to these experiences.

Given that our life is a whole lot better when we shop elsewhere, and that there’s a whole lot wrong with supermarkets, I decided to give up supermarkets entirely. Daddy Eco has always disliked supermarkets because of their impact on small-business, so I knew this was a challenge he’d be happy to join me in. Once we decided to skip supermarkets, extending the challenge to include shopping malls and super chains seemed logical.

While supermarkets and shopping malls are self-explanatory, it seems Daddy Eco needs some clarification as to what constitutes a 'super chain'. He just got back from a visit to the post office where he bought a snack from a bakery franchise (that has 700 bakeries across three countries) when there's a perfectly good local independently owned bakery a few shops down!? I haven't set specific criteria for what constitutes a super chain, but it obviously includes large national and international franchises and chain-stores, with the obvious ones being the fast food giants, most of the major appliance and furniture stores, and sadly Spotlight and Bunnings.

Would you like to join us in this challenge? If not for a year, perhaps for a month or a week? 

 

Information that will help you with the challenge:

Joining us in the challenge*

*For a month or a year, I don't mind. I love that people are willing to give it a go, even if it's just for a week.

Challenge participants are welcome to use the image above and here's the code for a 150 x 150 button (like the one in my side bar):

<a href=http://www.littleecofootprints.com/2012/01/skipping-supermarkets-shopping-malls-and-super-chains.html><img src=http://littleecofootprints.typepad.com/buttons/skipping_supermarket_150.jpg align="center"></a><a


Skipping the middle man and a mango icecream recipe

We checked out the Newcastle City Markets a few days before Christmas. These markets distribute wholesale fresh fruit and vegetables to the entire Hunter region. Each morning from 4am they're bustling with greengrocers and restaurateurs picking up their fresh produce.  Thankfully, the markets also open momentarily to the public on Fridays between 9.30am - 11.00am.

Prices are cheap because you're buying directly from the farmer and skipping the middle man.

I can't remember exactly why my dad and sister were laughing in the picture above, but it was most likely that we'd just bought those two trays of mangoes for only $10 each.

Dehydrating mango

With around 40 mangoes ripening within a few days of each other I've been exploring numerous ways to eat and preserve this delicious fruit. We've been eating them fresh, in salad, in smoothies, and on our cereal. I've also amassed a good stash of frozen diced mango, dehydrated a couple, and made mango roll-up. I don't think i'll dry mango ever again because it is way too delicious. Between Little Eco and I, we managed to eat the whole lot in only a few days. Oops!

But, by far, my favourite way to enjoy mangoes is as mango icecream.

Mango Icecream

Mango icecream

Ingredients:

4 egg whites*
3 tablespoons honey or sugar
1 cup mango pulp**
1 cup thickened cream

Method:

1. Beat egg whites until frothy, then gradually beat in sugar.
2. Blend the mango pulp with cream. If you're using frozen mango, this will need to be done in a blender or processor, otherwise use a hand-mixer.
3. Fold in egg whites.
4. Place in an ice-cream maker, or if you don't have one, simply pour into a container and freeze.

Enjoy.

Mango icecream for afternoon tea

*I used the yolks to make custard for our christmas pudding. I can't believe I used to use custard powder!? Have you tasted 'from scratch' custard? It's delicious and really not that much harder than using powder.

**If you start with frozen mango your icecream will take less time to freeze.

What's your favourite way to eat or preserve mango?

I'll be introducing some structure to this space this year. I'm working from home three - four days a week (for the ANPC) and need to be strict with myself in terms of separating blog time from work time. Being at home, I know i'll be tempted to post in this space daily, so to remove any temptation i'll be sticking to a schedule, posting only on Mondays and Thursdays. I'll still be over at Childhood 101 once a month and i'll also be on Twitter every now and then so that I don't get water-cooler chatter withdrawal. I'm TriciaEco if you want to follow me.